So, the month of October begins to near. And the inevitable question begins to be asked over and over again.
What are you doing for Samhain?
For most of the Pagan community, Samhain and Beltane are the two times of the year that everyone focuses upon. Sort of like Easter and Christmas for the Christian faith. Its typically the two times out of the year that Pagans seem to revel in getting together. Everyone plans huge gatherings – or plans to attend huge gatherings – during this time. I am nearly the polar opposite of this. I have discussed all this before here on the blog – here and here – this is just not my favorite time of the year. Once we get about three weeks past Samhain, I begin to enjoy the seasonal change. And trust me – I have heard all the statements about how weird I am for approaching – what is typically described as the quintessential Pagan holiday – as something of a much more minor moment on the Wheel. Believe me, I have heard it all. I am weird. I am not a “true” Pagan. I am anti-social. Ok there’s a little merit to that one. I have heard it all thrown at me.
But all of that makes me wonder. Why adhere labels and descriptives like that onto a person that does not share your ideals over a particular observance on the Wheel of the Year? We – the over-arching Pagan community – get our knickers into a twist when adherents of other faiths refer to us as ‘Satanists’ or ‘evil’…they should not be doing things like that or saying things that are not true. Yet its ‘ok’ to level a label against someone that does not conform to our own conceptual value of an observance – even when we believe the same thing about what its meaning is? Just over the difference of value. ::flat stare:: Really?
…and before someone accuses me of bagging on my own Community – let me add this particular observance. I see this type of attitude everywhere. In the mall. Out in the Park. At the train station. On Social Media sites. Even in the hallways of the colleges that I teach at. I am certainly not believing that this type of attitude is in abundance in one particular segment of the societal segments that I see. Nor am I exempt from it.
Go back to my own podcast – From the Edge of the Circle – listen to the episodes from about mid 2008 to mid 2010. You’ll find instances of me doing the exact same things I am describing here. Labeling people/movements – and then adding descriptives of ridicule and scorn to bring color and depth to those labels. Its not something I am proud of having done – but I am glad that I saw that in myself. And I continually battle myself on that same thing…it certainly is a difficult habit to break completely out of.
The internet and social media have provided us all with a more encompassing aspect of communication. We can reach far more people with our opinions than we could just thirty years ago. Podcasts, blogs, VidCasts, Chat Messengers, and Email have allowed us to communicate with a wider range of people than previously. Gone are the days of the BBSs, the Relay-Networks, the eZines, the poorly photocopied “newsletters”…our reach with what we say has increased tremendously. So there’s a degree of responsibility that comes with putting out a blog that says anything. Or, I should say there’s a certain degree of ownership involved.
Going back and listening to some of my older podcasts – I said quite a few provocative and negative things. I neither deny that nor do I shy away from what I said. However, looking back through the jaundiced eye of time, I could certainly have said some of those statements in a far more eloquent and civil manner. Nor do I completely agree with everything I said. Time changes everyone. History and experience provided more details, uncover perspectives not thought of during that time frame…and the result can be a new way of framing an opinion.
So, I may be considered a little strange or weird for the way I see or practice my moments on the Wheel during the periods of Samhain and Beltane. So be it. I currently see no need to change the way I observe those moments on the Wheel on my Daily Path. I also see no need to condemn or chastise people for the manner in which they choose to observe that same time frame. Live and let live…its a philosophy I can handle. I may have trouble practicing it from time to time, but rest assured, I will straighten my halo when I see that its slightly crooked. The little dents in it, and the tarnish from the wear and tear — that stays.